Thursday, February 23, 2012

Little Bits of Happy

Hello Everyone! 

I want to begin this blog post with a congratulations to my mother for winning her first crazy quilt challenge.  The assignment was to create a "Valentine block" using the materials that were sent to her (along with whatever else she wanted to add) and create a valentine themed crazy quilt block.  She won the contest for Most Romantic.  Here's why...

In the center she scanned a picture of her and my father on their wedding day in 1960.

In the bottom left corner is sheet music (which she scanned on fabric) with the words "Life is a song and love it the music" written across it.   If you are not familiar with crazy quilting there is a lot of hand work involved.  It's all about creativity, embellishments, beading, and stitching.  My mother worked very hard on this block and I think it's the best one she's done so far.  Congratulations on a job well done : )

As you may have noticed, I like to add music to my blog posts.  I love all kinds of music, but I think my favorite genre is my parents generation.  They were the lucky ones. Looking at that picture I was thinking about my parents wedding and what they may have been listening to in 1960.  Here's one of my favorite songs....

When I was little I used to put a record player on the floor of my bedroom and play all of my parent's old 45's. It was the first music I knew.  I loved it then, and I still love it now. 

(On a side note - I always clean my house to 50's  and 60's rock and roll.  Turn the volume up and the housework gets done in no time!)

Today I wanted to share with you some little bits that are making me happy this week.  Aside from the mild weather and hint of spring in the air (and who doesn't love that?) I just started a Nicholas Sparks book called Best of Me.  (thanks to my kindle I'm reading like crazy these days).  So far I like it, but really, can anything be as good as the Notebook?  Big shoes to fill. I'll keep you posted. 

On Sunday morning I made myself the best breakfast.  An apricot smoothie and cranberry almond granola.  I made the smoothie in my Magic Bullet, but you can use any blender.  Just add 1 cup of canned apricots (drained), one cup of plain Greek yogurt, and 6 or 7 ice cubes.   I found myself a sunny spot on the deck and had a few minutes of happiness in the fresh, cool, February, air. 

Granola is expensive in the supermarkets so that's why I started making it myself.  It's better actually because you can add in anything you want, and you won't believe how easy it is to make.   For Cranberry Almond here is the recipe:

4 cups oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups honey
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl stir together oats, almonds, and cranberries. 

In a separate bowl mix together the oil, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Drizzle over dry ingredients and stir to coat evenly.

Spread mixture out in a thin layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. 

Bake 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to toast evenly.

Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  The granola will harden as it cools. 

This granola is also yummy with walnuts, dried fruits, or mini dark chocolate chips. Anything you like. 

Add to yogurt, salads, or even on ice cream.  I take a little container of it to work with me and snack on it when I get the 3:00 munchies.  It's better than hitting the vending machines : )

But the BEST way to have this I think, is as a hot cereal.  Add a little milk and microwave it for 30 seconds. 

Such a good way to start the day!

This week I found out that after 5 years I have been wearing the wrong foundation color.  I LOVE Bare Minerals and someday I will do a post devoted to that topic - and all makeup in general.  I always wore a certain shade until Monday, when a very nice sales girl and the shop I go to took a few minutes to sit with me and offer me some advice.  She was so friendly, not pushy at all, and very informative.  Turns out she used to work for the company (dream job!) and knows everything about the product.  Since I am very light skinned I always assumed that I was "Fair" but it turns out I am "Fairly Medium".  Who knew?  When I got it home and tried it, turns out she was right! I was so glad I listened and took her advice.  If you are questioning a foundation color don't be deceived by what the product looks like, because once it's on your skin it might look totally different.  Ask for help.  It's so worth it. 

My husband didn't understand why I was SO excited about this, but I knew you girls would : )

With the mild winter we have been having I'm itching for spring and summer even more.  Hubbie took a chance and put the snow blower back in the shed and he brought out my planters on the front stoop.

I've been mentally planning my flower patches and yesterday we saw the first sprigs of crocus peeping up through the dirt in the back yard.  The birds are singing about this and so am I.  We've also started talking about our summer vacation which has got me very excited.  Our little four year old will be graduating pre-school this year and that is definite cause for a celebration.  Especially since it's gone by in the blink of my eye....

I am so looking forward to this coming weekend.  Saturday night we are getting together with close friends for a pizza night and on Sunday we are going to a family brunch at my parents house.  I'm making oven baked french toast to go with my mother's menu which I will tell you about later. My cousin is coming with his twins so my little guy is going to be in for an adventure : )

What are your weekend plans?

As I write this blog post, early on Thursday morning, this is how I would like to perceive myself.  Sitting very casually in a french cafe, sipping a latte, gazing out the window - totally unimpressed that the Eiffel Tower is right behind me. would be nice.  In real life, it's not that picturesque - although I do hear the coffee pot brewing (music to my early morning ears), and the boys are still snoring.  I have time for a quick cup before the world wakes up, so that's what I'm going to do.

Before I sign off I would like to thank Gemma from  She is having a giveaway to celebrate her 200th posts.  Please visit her blog and etsy shop.  She's makes the most adorable things!  It's blogs like Gemma's that make me happy and feel connected to kindred spirits in the blog world : )

I'll be back soon with my french toast recipe and a new pasta dish that I know you will love.  I hope you all have a great day.  It's almost Friday!!!

Danielle xo


  1. Hi Danielle!

    Thank you so much for your kind words about my nice of you!!

    Your Granola looks yummy minus the nuts as i'm allergic! I love dried cranberries : )

    Your weekend sounds so fun. I love having plans at the weekend, it makes it go so much slower when you've got something to do.

    Gemma x

  2. Yum that granola looks delicious! I've always wanted to make home made granola. Will have to give it a shot.

    Have a great weekend! :)

  3. Danielle...

    I am wondering whether I have read just one post, or whether I got it all wrong and, I've just been looking at three posts. WOW!

    I really love your mum's quilt: it's truly fantastic! So romantic!

    I don't know Bobby Darin, but I've heard the name and I know the song, though it wasn't my era! That kind of music just makes me dream! Beautiful! (I love Frank Sinatra!)

    Thank you for a lovely post!



  4. That quilt is so romantic and sweet! And your smoothie looks yummy. I'm loving the spring-like weather here, too.. cooler mornings and warm afternoons are my favorite xo

  5. The quilt block you mother made is so lovely! The picture she added is just so romantic and the perfect touch! Love this post Danielle! I think I am going to try your granola looks so good! Love that you found the perfect foundation colour...I am just discovering that MAC works really well for my skin...and I am 43 years old! Angie xo